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UW American Heritage Center Provides Digitized Primary Sources for Wyoming History Day

January 26, 2021
person in period clothing speaking at a podium
A past Wyoming History Day student makes her presentation during the 2019 competition. UW’s American Heritage Center, which hosts the annual event, has developed a website with digitized materials to help students with their projects. (UW Photo)

A website recently launched by the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC), a Wyoming History Day (WHD) participant, now boasts digitized materials on 12 popular topics within the AHC’s collections -- with more planned.

The website provides online delivery of historical materials to WHD students to help create their projects and presentations. WHD is an affiliate of National History Day (NHD), with the competition running across the entire school year through district meets and then the state competition. The top projects compete at the national level.

WHD participants, as well as scholars and the public, can find contextualized resources relating to the 2021 NHD theme of “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”

Current resources are available on subjects such as UW’s Black 14 football players; Chief Washakie; Heart Mountain Relocation Center; women’s suffrage; the first U.S. female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross; the Rock Springs Massacre; the Pony Express; Project Wagon Wheel; radio, television and film; the Second Red Scare; women photographers and filmmakers; and architecture. All can be accessed at

UW’s AHC created the website with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries awarded last fall. The IMLS grant will enable the AHC, in coming months, to provide materials for 30 topics held in nearly 90 collections.

In past years, students have visited the AHC in person to use its collections. Wyoming’s weather and winter roads often have made the trips difficult but, with the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are no longer possible. The IMLS grant enables the AHC to digitize holdings for the History Day competition and to build and host the website to make those digital copies available to students across Wyoming and around the nation.

“We want to provide all students the opportunity to participate in History Day and, through the IMLS CARES Act funds, we are able to make unique archival material, once limited to a physical location, available to students and teachers across the state and nation,” says WHD Coordinator Cameron Green.

The WHD website will be updated each year to accommodate the new annual History Day theme. It allows the AHC to continue to provide a comprehensive and consistent location for distributing digitized materials, AHC Director Paul Flesher says. This will alleviate Wyoming’s problem of rural access to primary sources and educational materials, even when COVID-19 finally recedes.

The AHC has coordinated WHD for more than a decade, hosting the state competition in Laramie every April. This year’s competition will be held virtually due to the pandemic.

For more information, call Green at (307) 766-2300 or email

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